Carrying on the family tradition in her own way, Aerin Lauder has created an elegant, unpretentious label which celebrates beauty through cosmetics, home décor and fashion.
On being a businesswoman:
"My grandmother taught me one crucial thing: never doubt or question your decisions. I’d tell every woman who, like me, wants to succeed – personally and/or professionally – to start slowly, pursue your dreams, immerse yourself fully in your passions, no matter what they are (like home décor, gardening or photography) and never be afraid to take risks. That’s what I did when I launched my business, and I am delighted with the outcome. And if you’re working in the family business, it can be fun, but remember that there is never any down time – you talk work all the time!”
On her grandmother:
“I never called her grandma; she was always Estée to me. She always treated me like an adult and I just loved it. She would take me with her to the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan, just to eat a chocolate éclair. And she would let me watch her doing her makeup, in the privacy of her dressing room. No matter how busy she was, she never left the house without perfect hair and makeup. In her eyes, this was synonymous with beauty. She believed that the image we project affects how we live. Her motto was 'beauty is the best way to boost self-esteem.' She personified class and consideration. I’m so glad that I was able to spend so much time with her as a child, but I regret not having had the chance to work alongside her on a day to day basis."
On her clothing style:
“My look is classic, but comfortable and unpretentious. I focus on the basics, in neutral colours: ballerinas or pumps, dresses, jeans or trousers, men’s shirts and blazers. It’s not surprising that my favourite designers all create pieces that are feminine yet contemporary. I like to combine vintage and modern, colours and a touch of gold. In this, Stella McCartney, Oscar de la Renta, Michael Kors and Derek Lam all share my vision."
Aerin Rose de Grasse Eau de Parfum Spray ($205 for 50 mL)
On her label:
“I have always loved flowers, pinks and all the pastels. I wanted to give my brand a style in my own image: feminine and sophisticated, yet modern. These characteristics, taken individually, are all used by different brands but they have never before been combined under the same roof. I wanted to gather them up and make them the pillars of the Aerin brand. I also dreamed of having a brand that would allow me to celebrate my heritage (beauty) and my passion (décor). And I wanted it to be consistent and streamlined. In other words, I want my beauty products to be as effective as they are beautiful to look at. Aerin’s seasonal product launches are limited, with a limited palette. New products are hand picked. We don’t release a huge range of lipsticks, fragrances or blushes. The choices are simple, the products are easy to use and the effect is always in good taste.”
On her lifestyle:
“I wake up at 7:00 am, have coffee, drop my boys off at school and sometimes work out after that. I like to take my time in the morning and only arrive at the office around 9:00 am. The rest of my day depends on the priorities of the moment: sometimes I’ll be working on launching a new fragrance, sometimes I’ll be organizing a photo session or a promotional tour, or else I might visit my suppliers. When I need a break, I escape to our country house in the Hamptons. I take long walks, relax with friends and forget about work entirely. My favourite sports are walking, skiing and tennis. I’m not really crazy about spas, but I do enjoy having a facial, and when I’m feeling stiff, I treat myself to a massage.”
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On her office:
“Since that’s where I spend most of my time, I have adopted Estée’s philosophy: I try to make my work environment as attractive and comfortable as possible. I like to pin fabric swatches, photographs and interesting drawings on the walls. And I like to be surrounded by useful yet fun objects on my desk: my MacBook Pro, fashion magazines, cosmetic and fragrance samples, shells, perfumed candles, two or three of my boys’ toys …”
On her work and home life:
“It’s hard to juggle the two worlds. I try to balance my love for my family with my job. Estée always said that it’s important to love what you do so that work does not become a burden. And it’s so true. I really love what I do, so I feel that all the hours and effort I have invested are worthwhile. Another thing that makes my life easier is that I live close to my workplace. I decided to install Aerin’s headquarters just a stone’s throw from Estée Lauder, so that I can walk back and forth.”